I’ve been reading some really good books recently and now I’m adding Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter to the list. I’m going to start by saying I’ve never paid much attention to the Kennedys; I don’t know if it’s my age, but I’ve just never been particularly fascinated with them.
Except this book might have changed that.
Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson tells such a heartbreaking story that I can’t help but be intrigued by them. In telling the story of Rosemary, a learning disabled sister to JFK , we learn about the family history, the family secrets, and all the horrible things we did to people with mental illness in a time where we knew so little and took scary risks.
I realize to get to where we are now, we had to learn through trial and error, but this book is a horrible reminder of how we treated the neediest among us in a time where having a child who wasn’t “normal” was cause for shame and hiding. This book is a train wreck and you just can’t stop–from the beginning where Rosemary’s mom is made to stop her laboring body for two hours until the doctor arrives (essentially shoving the birthing child back in the birth canal WTH??) and ending with partial lobotomy that goes horribly wrong, you just can’t help but wonder who Rosemary would have become if she was born in a different time.
Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Sister by Kate Clifford Larson is well research and well written. Telling this story for the first time is hard and Clifford Larson does a great job with a sensitive and infuriating subject. And the way the rest of the Kennedy siblings have honored Rosemary with their lives speaks to how impactful she was even with her struggles. Read this one with your book club or a friend–you’re going to need someone to talk with about it.